Did you wear green on Friday? Have an Irish meal? Drink Green Milk? Well, of course! It’s become an American tradition for everyone to feel a little Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. But, here are 10 facts you might not have known:
There are 34.7 million U.S. residents with Irish ancestry. This number is more than seven times the population of Ireland itself.
There are seven places in the United States named after the shamrock, the floral emblem of Ireland, including Mount Gay-Shamrock, WV; Shamrock, TX; Shamrock Lakes, IN; and Shamrock, OK.
The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in the United States on March 17, 1766, when Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City.
Today, more than 100 St. Patrick’s Day parades are held across the United States.
For many years, Dripsey in County Cork had the world’s shortest parade, just 77 feet, the distance between two pubs – The Weigh Inn and The Lee Valley.
The humble shamrock was originally a teaching tool. St. Patrick is said to have used the three-leaved plant to explain the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) to the pagan Irish.
For many years, blue was the color most often associated with St. Patrick. Green was considered unlucky. St. Patrick’s blue was considered symbolic of Ireland for many centuries and the Irish Presidential Standard is still blue.
Leprechauns live in the forest, making shoes and fixing them all day. They have amassed an amazing treasure trove of gold over the years, and they protect their treasure. Female Leprechauns Do Not Exist, which may explain why leprechauns are so unfriendly.
Saint Patrick’s birth name was Maewyn Succat. He changed it after entering priesthood to Patricius. He was from Wales, but is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland and has become its Patron Saint.
General George Washington, a member of Philadelphia’s Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, actively encouraged Irish American patriots to join the Continental Army. On Evacuation Day, March 17, 1776, the General Orders issued by Washington were that those wishing to pass through Continental Army lines should give the password “Boston,” to which the reply should be “St. Patrick.” Later, in 1780, while camped in Morristown, NJ, General Washington allowed his troops a holiday on 17 March “as an act of solidarity with the Irish in their fight for independence.” This event became known as The Saint Patrick’s Day Encampment of 1780.
So, now you know that celebrating St. Patrick’s Day is not just “an Irish thing,” it’s an American tradition!